A 17-story residence hall at Rutgers-Newark, once home to the university’s law school, will be named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who began her historic career focusing on equity and justice as a law professor there.
The neoclassical residence hall, which is home to about 330 students, including 100 law students, faces Newark’s Washington Park, soon to be renamed Harriet Tubman Square, the university said. The change was approved by Rutgers’ board of trustees at a meeting Thursday.
“When I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I hope future generations will understand her perseverance, her clear-eyed pursuit of justice and equity, and her care for those people who are often seen as voiceless or without history,” Rutgers president Jonathan Holloway said in a news release. “These are the principles that Ginsburg stood for. I think they are the principles that Rutgers stands for, and I’d love for future generations to understand how they are connected in that way.”
Ginsburg, who died in September after more than a quarter century on the court, was at the law school from 1963 to 1972, teaching women’s rights including a seminar on the law and gender equality. Her work at Rutgers set the stage for her groundbreaking arguments before the Supreme Court on gender discrimination. And she continued to have close ties with university faculty and former students after she left, the university said.
She also spoke at the dedication of the current law school’s home in 1999 and in 2016, during the university’s 250th anniversary celebration, she noted in remarks how Rutgers’ students “sparked” her interest in women and the law and discrimination “and aided in charting the course I then pursued.”
“Rutgers was one of the very few U.S. law schools willing in the 1960s to hire women, or minorities,” Jane Ginsburg, the justice’s daughter and a law professor at Columbia Law School, said in a statement. “It is particularly appropriate that the university that gave mother her start in law teaching would commemorate that association in such a tangible way.”
The naming of the residence hall for Ginsburg was suggested by Nancy Cantor, chancellor of the Newark campus, whose residence is in the hall, which had been known as 15 Washington Street.
“In an era when our nation is experiencing an unprecedented surge in awareness of who among us continue to be left behind in so many domains of public and private life and how far we have to go to achieve our nation’s promise of genuinely equal justice under the law, the case for naming a building for Ginsburg is more than strikingly appropriate,” Cantor said in a statement. “It is urgent.”